Get it sorted

One of the truest statements about the internet is that everyone uses it differently. Have you ever sat behind someone and watched them complete a task on their computer, and thought to yourself…”what in the world are they doing?” I once told someone to google something and they proceeded to type “google” into the upper right search tool bar on the browser, wait for Google.com to load, and then type their query into Google’s website search bar. It was baffling, hilarious, and reminded me that people do the same things differently.

This point was made even more clearly as we guided the Charleston CVB through an exercise called card sorting for a new website we’ll be launching in the coming months. If you haven’t participated in this exercise before, you are missing out. There are a different ways to do this, most notably a closed vs. open sort (nice synopsis here). We chose to do a closed sort for a bit more speed, and so we put together a list of 6 categories that we as a Blue Ion team felt best represented the main navigation. At this point, we had the CVB team members sort about 30 remaining cards into their perceived appropriate categories. They were also allowed to make duplicate cards if they felt something should go in a couple categories.

Here’s one victim’s team member’s results.


We had our own inklings about what would get sorted into each category. For the most part, we had our inklings validated by critical mass. But, there were some gems of knowledge pulled out.

The gems listed below:

  • We should combine 2 of our categories into 1
  • A section of the site we perceived as primary category could be moved into a more secondary role
  • We had named some pages inappropriately.
  • People LOVE card sorting

There were probably another 15 minor insights we received that I won’t bore you with. But, the net of it is that I was happily surprised at how much we learned and how much each person enjoyed this process. It let them be a part of our process, and let them be heard.

Note: this can also be done remotely with a handy online card sorting application found at UXPunk.com.